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Eli Drake Reveals That Almost Returning to NXT In 2015 Led To Him Getting Six-Figure Contract From Impact Wrestling

April 5, 2019 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Eli Drake’s Eli Drake Gravy Ring Warriors wish

In an interview with 411’s Jeffrey Harris and the 411 Wrestling Interviews Podcast (which you can listen to below), Impact Wrestling and former WWE star Eli Drake spoke about how he almost returned to NXT in 2015 and how that got Impact Wrestling to give him a six-figure contract.

“Look, Impact has been fantastic to me,” Drake said. “I’m one of the best paid guys there, I’m proud to say. I was very fortunate that the first year I came, I was kind of brought in as the third guy in the Rising. Was kind of just the body because the way that I even got hired there was one of the producers at WWE who was kind of fond of my work kind of reached out to John Gaburick and was like, ‘Hey. You guys should take a look at this guy.’ So kind of on that, they brought me in for a dark match, ended up liking what I was doing, liked my promo work, we cut some stuff in the back, ended up throwing me into that group, but I don’t think they expected much out of me. It seemed like they were kind of expecting a lot more from Tanga Loa.

So eventually, I started getting a microphone, and it was like, ‘OK. Wait a minute. This guy’s got something.’ Here’s a little story that no one is aware of, but do you remember back when James Storm went to NXT for like a minute? OK, so I was also supposed to go to NXT then because I had run into a couple guys from NXT in Orlando, Florida while we were doing tapings. It was one of my last tapings in August of 2015, right around the time where we were at Destination America. And Ring of Honor had been put on that timeslot right after us or whatever, so we started to think, are we about to get pushed off? Are we getting cancelled? What is this? I ran into some of these guys from NXT, and one of them was like, ‘What would you think about coming back?’ And it had now been a year since I’d been released, and I was like, ‘Well, hell yeah, I’d like to come back.’ Because I’m thinking I’m not going to have a job. He’s like, ‘Alright. I’ll bring up your name.’

So, I got a call a couple days later [from WWE]. Talked about everything. Talked about how we could have this ready to go for you if you wanted to show in October at one of the tapings. And I’m like, ‘Alright. Let me see if I can get my release.’ So, I sent an e-mail to John Gaburick back in around September/October 2015 requesting my release. He vehemently refused, and he was just like, ‘We really want to do a lot of stuff with you. There’s a lot of potential with you. Please stay with us, and if you do, I’ll rip up the contract you have now and I’ll write you a new one.’ And I’m saying to myself, ‘This is such BS.’ But I was like, ‘Alright, fine.’ So, I told them [WWE], ‘Look. My deal’s running up in February. So why don’t we just hit back up then.’ But true to his word, he [Gaburick] ended up writing me a six-figure deal; the first six-figure deal I had ever seen. And so, I was like very happy to stay with Impact at that point.”

In the full interview, Eli Drake talks about why he is against intergender wrestling, almost going back to NXT in 2015, how much he makes with Impact Wrestling, his current contract status, if he’s had talks with WWE, his thoughts on AEW’s impact on the wrestling business, his backstage experiences with Scott Steiner, and more.

If using any news or quotes from our interview, please credit 411mania.com and please embed the podcast audio player or YouTube video of the full interview in your post.

On opting out of his United We Stand match with Tessa Blanchard and Joey Ryan replacing him (1:20)
On the women’s revolution, intergender wrestling and its place in wrestling (2:10)
On when his Impact Wrestling contract expires and his next move (7:58)
On if he’s had contact with WWE (8:44)
On if there are more options for guys like him in wrestling and the status of the industry (9:59)
On nearly returning to NXT when James Storm did and his opinion of Impact right now (14:12)
On if he was worried about his future when Impact was struggling (19:27)
On his time in NXT and why he thinks he got worse during that time (22:08)
On if he’d be open to a return to NXT if he signed with WWE (25:00)
On whether he has any advocates in AEW (27:01)
On AEW’s launch and its potential long-term viability (28:22)
On working with Scott Steiner (32:42)
On working with Percy Pringle and which feuds and matches he’s proud of (34:36)

You can subscribe and listen to the 411 Wrestling Interviews Podcast via
the above player on Transistor, or on the following platforms:
* Apple Podcasts
* Spotify
* Stitcher
* Google Play

article topics :

Eli Drake, Jeffrey Harris